Wildcards are symbols used by databases to represent one or more letters, either at the end or part way through a search term. For example, truncation, using the * symbol at the end of the word is regarded as a 'wildcard'.
Wildcards are useful when you're looking for words which have geographic spelling variations, or when you want to find words which begin with the same set of letters but may have different endings. The Wildcards get the databases to do a lot of the work for you.
Whilst many databases use 'standard' wildcards you shouldn't assume that they are all the same or work in the same way. It's good practice to have a look at the help guides available on individual databases as they often explain how wildcards can be used.
We have an advanced guide giving specific uses of wildcards on a variety of our subscription databases which you can find below.